Court hears man who spent previous Christmas periods behind bars wants to be with family this year

Ballymena Courthouse

A COURT heard a Ballymena man who has spent the “last number of Christmases” behind bars was keen to be released in time for December 25 this year to spend some time with his family.

Ciaran McKeown (24), with an address listed as Dunclug Park, was given a two months jail term at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday but with time served on remand he is expected to be freed ahead of Christmas.

He admitted charges of assaulting and resisting a police officer and stealing £3 worth of items from Poundland.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney said the defendant had initially been remanded in custody because he had no address.

A prosecutor said that on October 28 this year McKeown was detained at Poundland for shoplifting and CCTV showed he placed items into his jacket.

When interviewed the defendant said he was on his way to the till when a friend got into an argument with someone outside and when he attempted to go out he was stopped.

He claimed he then offered to pay but it was refused.

On November 10 this year police were called to the Traveller’s Rest at Galgorm Road in Ballymena where the defendant was entering rooms of other tenants without their permission and was refusing to leave.

McKeown then lunged at an officer and made a number of attempts to grab and punch the officer whilst struggling.

The defence solicitor said the defendant’s life had been “blighted by alcohol and prescription drug abuse”.

Regarding the assault the lawyer said McKeown had just been discharged from hospital and whilst in a “somewhat confused state” he had lashed out.

District Judge Steven Keown accepted it was a very low value theft but said the defendant had a “terrible record” and handed down a two months jail term.

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